GLYCINE AIRMAN 'A WATCH THAT FLEW TO THE SKY' LUEL MAGAZINE JUNE 2014
Invention of wristwatch brought revolutionary change to the watch industry. During the 'heyday' between the 1950's and 70's, hundreds of European watchmakers were pouring their new products into the market. It was the time when every watch company advertised all the firsts and bests, so watch customers were having fun catching up with the new innovations coming out every day.
World War II contributed much to technological advancement in the fields of civilian aeronautics and motor industries. With long-distance flight becoming possible, pilot watches enjoyed greater demand, and movies about heroic WW2 pilots also boosted ordinary people's envy and interest for the pilot watches.
This article introduces to you Airman pilot watch by Glycine, one of the most representative pilot watches of all times. Founded as a Swiss watchmaker in 1914, Glycine was a small but substantial company with capacity to manufacture its own movement caliber. Glycine once supplied its product to German Luftwaffe, and it is a known fact that Luftwaffe issued only the best equipment to their pilots. So it was the Airman watch that made Glycine one of the best pilot watchmakers at that time. As the name goes, the watch is exclusively designed for pilots, so it has some distinctive characteristics like no other watches.
Airman breaks the rule of 12-hour track and adopted 24-hour track dial, which instantly tells the day or night at a glance. It also features rotating 24-hour bezel which basically works as a second time zone clock. This is a pretty common feature these days, but it was an innovative layout back then.
Most intriguing thing about the Airman however is the hack setting function. Hacking basically means stopping second hand by pulling the crown, and is useful for military operations as it operates like a stop-watch or timer.
For example, to share same time within a group of people under special circumstances like military operation, all members stop their watch by pulling the crown (hacking) when the second hand hits 12 o'clock, and then reset them on the move simultaneously at a pre-arranged time.
Airman tweaked this hack-setting function in a clever way : when the crown is pulled off, a thin wire pops up on the 12 o'clock (in this case 24 o'clock) index and physically halts the second hand when it reaches that point. It is a simple mechanism, but under time-critical situations it will surely come in handy. In spite of this ingenuity Airman didn't attract much attention, until it hit the jackpot during Vietnam War. Many American pilots deployed to Asia loved this watch, not only because the hack-setting was useful to set the operation time, but also because they could see what time it was back home half the world away.
After these pilots returned home, their words about Airman watch quickly spread among US customers, and soon America became the biggest market for Glycine. It is thanks to this glorious moments of the past that Airman is still on the front line-up of Glycine products. When you visit their website, various types of Airman including the '1953 vintage limited edition' will greet you to join the Airman's club.
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